Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When It's Time to Move, I Break Out the Milwaukee Hand Truck

Milwaukee D-Handle 800-Pound Hand Truck

My hand truck, ready for action!
Back in olden days, having a pickup truck meant that at the end of the month, you often seemed to have a lot more friends than usual. If you happen to won a hand truck – also  known as a two-wheeler, but never a “dolly” – you seem to have even more. I have both – the pickup’s a Toyota, the other is a Milwaukee D-Handle Hand Truck.

Right now I’m in the middle of a move – I’ll be loading the ol’ U-Haul (Penske, actually) rental tomorrow for a 1000-mile move, my third this century. I don’t rent one of their hand trucks, though – I’ve had my own for at least twenty years. This is precisely the tool you need for moving stacks of boxes, of which we have maybe a million. When we're not moving across country, we use ours to truck around trash cans and other large items, though it’s of little use when it comes to moving furniture and appliances.


Milwaukee’s design has a frame of tubular steel with a D-shaped handle at the top center. The frame’s maybe 50” tall and 14” wide. A pair of 10” pneumatic tires are set on a full axle at the rear of the frame, positioned so the truck stands by itself and the front edge of the tires is still behind the frame - including the tires, the truck is about 18" wide. A solid steel plate about 7” deep runs the width of the frame, across the front to support the load of up to 800 pounds. This isn’t wide enough for appliances, which is why there’s a special dolly (complete with straps) for them.

I’ve shifted hundreds of tons of stuff with mine and similar trucks (I worked in a warehouse for a year). They’re not pretty, but they are marvels of design. Even a lightweight can move a stack of boxes that outweighs him or her with one, and the design’s excellent balance means you can guide the truck around the room with one hand. Having beefy 10-inch pneumatic tires means it runs across rough surfaces easily, too.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Got a Fence in Your Future? You Need a Post Level

Irwin Tools Magnetic Post Level

The house and all the trees survived the big wind, no problem – but like several of our neighbors we came outside after the storm to find several sections of our six-foot privacy fence leaning drunkenly into the yard. That meant a trip to the local BigBox hardware store for new cedar pickets, stringers, a few bags of cement, and half a dozen 4-by-4 posts. I had everything else I needed, including my Irwin Tools Magnetic Post Level

I bought mine years ago (back when they were still bright green) because I got sick of trying to get my posts vertical with just a carpenter’s level. Now I use it whenever I set a post for a deck, a fence or mailbox, a bird feeder pole, or anything else that has to stand straight.